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11/16/2009
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Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Intuit Customer Manager Wants To be Your MyFirstCRM

Intuit Customer Manager, the new customer relationship management app from the small-business powerhouse behind QuickBooks, is coming out of beta. After months of free beta availability, Intuit hopes to sign small businesses with fewer than 20 employees as paying customers.

Intuit Customer Manager, the new customer relationship management app from the small-business powerhouse behind QuickBooks, is coming out of beta. After months of free beta availability, Intuit hopes to sign small businesses with fewer than 20 employees as paying customers."Small businesses are overserved by existing CRM solutions," claims John Flora, group product manager for Intuit Customer Manager. So Intuit wants to offer a "super simple solution for Main Street" users, Flora said.

Competitors like Salesforce.com are "great for dedicated sales teams and management," Flora said, "where you need to nurture leads for months." Intuit Customer Manager is merely intended to gather customer information in one place and give users quick ways to "see what we did with them," he added. The issue is whether small businesses will be willing to pay for CRM -- typically for the first time.

One key will be integration with QuickBooks. While it's available as a standalone product, Intuit Customer Manager works "better" when integrated with QuickBooks financial data, including outstanding balances and revenue.

A shared calendar manages all appointments, giving an "at a glance" view of what everyone in the company is doing. The system lets users group customers in many ways, Flora said, for example: "people that owe me money." And each customer can have "activity notes" on sales progress or personal data. The system can track who has a warranty, for example, and when it expires, and group it with others for easy lead generation.

Lead tracking includes data "who they were, what they want, and how to follow up," Flora said. Custom fields -- text, numbers, dates, checkboxes -- let even small companies set it up to deal with their particualar needs

Intuit-Customer-Manager-Customer-List Intuit Customer Manager groups customers into lists.

Several thousand users have been beta testing the product for more than 6 months, but it's now transitioning to general availabilty for $9.95 per month for 5 users, after a 30-day free trial. Beta testers will have to pony up starting November 26th.

There is also Customer Manager for Mobile for the BlackBerry Curve, and Intuit has submitted an iPhone app and is now waiting for Apple's approavel, Flora said.

Finally, Flora said Intuit is still working on adding new features. "How easy would it be to create a marketing campaign together" with QuickBooks, he wondered aloud?

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